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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Other)

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Marcia – how one adulteress saved Christians

A rescript issued by Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 176, prohibiting the practice of foreign religions, confirmed the persecution of Christians. The greatest intensity of persecution in that period occurred in 177 in Lugdunum, where Bishop Poteinos, who was over 90 years old, was killed. Saint Justin was martyred in Rome itself.

Commodus

Lagotto Romagnolo – dog breed that accompanied Romans?

There is a view that Roman civilization is a continuation of Etruscan civilization1. From this view, and from the history of the lagotto romagnolo breed2, it can be concluded that the ancestors of today’s truffle hunters already accompanied the ancient Romans.

Lagotto romagnolo

Roman mămăligă

One of the founding myths of the Romanian nation is its direct descent from those conquered by the Romans in the 1st century CE Dacians. To what extent is this true? An alternative theory is the origin of the Vlachs, the ancestors of the Romanians, from Romanian-speaking communities from the areas of today’s Albania, who fled from the Turkish threat to the north, to the Carpathians (participating in the ethnogenesis of our Boykos, Lemkos and Hutsuls) and to the Danube lowlands – let linguists and geneticists decide. The fact is that to this day, only in Romania can parents name their children Decebalus, Hadrian, Trajan or Ovid (the famous poet is buried in Constanta on the Black Sea).

Mămăligă

Herodotus’ description of preparation of Scythian burial

I have already written about the Scythian invasion of the Middle East in the 7th century BCE. Let’s stay on the topic of the Scythians, because when it comes to ancient history, I must admit that they are the people that fascinate me the most. The Scythians were famous for their customs, which were usually seen as extremely barbaric by the Hellenes. It was no different in the case of the preparation of the Scythian royal burial, the description of which was left to us by perhaps the most famous of the ancient historians, Herodotus.

Illustration of the Scythian funeral by Alexander Deruchenko

Herodotus about Massagetae

Scythians and Sarmatians were not the only warrior nomads of Iranian origin described by Herodotus. To the east of them, in the territory of modern Kazakhstan, there were supposed to be the lands of the Massagetae people. They had in common with the Scythians not only their origins and way of life, but both peoples were also famous for defeating the Persians. Before King Darius I suffered defeat at the hands of the Scythians, the founder of the Achaemenid empire, Cyrus II, was allegedly killed by the Massagetae. The queen of this people, named Tomyris, is said to have kept the severed head of the Persian monarch in a sack filled with blood, justifying this by saying that it saturates the blood of those who were not saturated with blood.

Painting of Queen Tomyris by Belinda Morris

Scythian invasion of Middle East in Book of Jeremish

Most of my readers probably know who the ancient Scythians were, but for those uninitiated, in short, they were a nomadic Iranian people who in the 7th century BCE settled on the Black Sea steppes, displacing the Cimmerian people related to them. Archaeological traces of the Scythians’ presence are also found in the lands of modern Poland, but we can talk about such wonders as the treasure from Witaszków another time. That’s the introduction in a nutshell. However, did you know that the terrifying invasion of the Scythians on the lands of the Middle East is most likely mentioned in the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Jeremiah?

Scythians by Angus McBride

Father sacrifices his daughter’s life…

Ancient times were cruel. The stories recorded in Greek and Roman myths echo the helplessness of people in the face of their surroundings, and the fear of the judgments of the gods symbolizes human weakness in the face of powerful but incomprehensible forces of nature and blind fate. He tests everyone – the rich and the poor, the honest and the deceitful, the virtuous and the dissolute, the humble and the proud. From here it is only a step to the feeling of lack of any agency and simple submission to fate. Especially when the gods put people in an impossible situation…

Agamemnon offering his daughter Iphigenia as a sacrifice to the goddess Artemis

Extremely useful materials before visiting Pompeii, Oplontis, Boscoreale or Stabiae

When visiting Pompeii, Oplontis, Boscoreale or Stabiae, it is worth equipping yourself with appropriate materials in advance. On the Pompeii Archaeological Park website (http://pompeiisites.org ) we will find maps and helpful materials that we can print out before the visit, and which will be invaluable help during sightseeing. It is worth mentioning that the materials are regularly updated.

Map of Pompeii by Pompeii Archaeological Park

Marshal Józef Piłsudski about his historical interests

Marshal Józef Piłsudski about his historical interests: “The books describing the existence of the classical nations – the Greeks and Romans made the greatest impression on me. Probably because they were filled with details of the struggles for the Homeland and descriptions of heroic deeds. Besides, I was in love with Napoleon and everything that happened. I was concerned about this hero, it touched me with emotion and ignited my imagination”1.

Marshal Józef Piłsudski about his historical interests

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